Saturday, October 31, 2015

Sequoia NP and the 3 Bears???

Our first day up in Sequoia was awesome and the day ended with quite a treat! Sequoia is all about the red woods and they are every where!  They are so huge and live so long and can endure so much. It is pure pleasure to walk among them!

The Sentinel Tree dwarfs the visitor center

The Big Tree Trail is a great little trail to see lots of sequoias and learn all about them

The Twins
 We did the Moro Rock/Soldier Trail Loop which takes you through beautiful groves of sequoias and
an ascent up Moro Rock.  Pictured below from a view point along the trail.  The Soldier Trail took
us through one of the least visited areas of the park. We were alone on that section in a light rain and
mist and it was amazing!

I squeezed in to check out the hollowed out, badly burned giant
pictured below.  As you can see,
It is still very much alive with
large branches growing out of the
upper left of the trunk!

Here we go up the 300 steps to visit Moro Rock. Wow!  The clouds moved in and swirled around us
and it was awesome!

There trees grew in the same spot here!

Tunnel log with the mist moving in

Mike is standing in the burnt our area of this giant, note the pedestal roots

here we are under the same tree

It started raining and the colors popped!!!!!

 On our way home we saw these
three bears up in a tree eating acorns!  The tree was next to the road and the bear in this pic was over hanging the road!

You can see the light bear in this pic, the other 2 were further right in the same tree

Monday, October 26, 2015

Wrapping up Yosemite

We head out tomorrow but it has been a great 6 days in Yosemite.  Here are a few more places we explored the past couple of days:

We ate lunch here over looking the Toulumne River

A beautiful trail along the river but our hike was cut short due to gnats swarming us!
 We had to see some sequoias of course while in the area and fortunately, even though the Mariposa Grove in Yosemite Valley is closed for restoration till some time next year, there are 2 other smaller groves in the back country:
The Merced Grove of giant sequoias 

close up of wolfs lichen

Merced Grove

love this pic, the fungus looks like flowers or butterflies

The Toulamne Grove

the smaller pine cone, about the size of an egg, is from a sequoia

inside a dead giant

the tunnel tree

a school class of young teens circled the tunnel tree.  it took 24 of them to make the circle;)

Did not see many hawks here,
this red tail posed for me finally

Sunday, October 25, 2015

Yosemite NP, CA

We are spending a week near Yosemite NP and the weather has been unseasonably warm.  We were expecting cooler hiking temperatures but find ourselves hiking in temps close to 80!

Mike had never been to Yosemite before so our first trip into the park was to Yosemite Valley of course.  So we spent a day there but won't be going back as it was so crowded and far from where we are parked in Greeley Hill.  We are closer to the Yosemite back country which neither of us have explored and are having a good time doing some hiking up here.  Below is some of what we've done:

In front of Bridalveil Fall which had water flowing! This past summer many visitors found the falls dry due to the drought.  
El Capitan

Upper Yosemite Fall is one of the top 20 highest falls in the world at 1420ft

Upper and Lower Yosemite Falls

Vernal Fall is impressive and one of those falls that always has a rainbow.  We took the trail to the top of the falls which includes 600 rough cut granite stone steps and a free shower from the spray of the falls:)  In summer they say you get soaked on this trail, we got more of a pleasant mist.

Mike climbing some of the stairs close to the top of Vernal Fall

Arriving at the top of the stairs we had to walk back down to the top of the fall

Here we are at the top of Vernal Fall

What goes up must come down:)
 The Hetch Hetchy Valley is located in the northwest corner of Yosemite NP.  It houses the O'Shaughnessy Dam and Hetch Hetch Reservoir which supplies drinking water for the city of San Francisco.  We did the shoreline hike to Wampama Fall:
Mike heading down to cross the dam

view downstream from the dam

view of the reservoir from the trail

Wampama Fall

another view of the fall looking up at the beautiful clouds moving in

tree fungus with ladybugs
On the west edge of the park near the Big Oak Flat entrance, we did a nice forest trail that followed the  South Fork Tuolumne River to Carlon Falls:
My pic does not do Carlon falls justice.  This beautiful off set cascading, stair step falls with lush vegetation is awesome! 

inset of falls

US Army Corp of Engineers Park, Iowa City, IA

Mike and I love it when we can find a COE park because they are always on water and our last stop at Coralville Lake was no exception.  A bi...